The Space Museum was the seventh serial of season 2 of Doctor Who. It was written by Glyn Jones, directed by Mervyn Pinfield and featured William Hartnell as the First Doctor, William Russell as Ian Chesterton, Jacqueline Hill as Barbara Wright and Maureen O'Brien as Vicki Pallister.
It was the first story to deal with the dimensions of time as well as space and the first to feature alternate timelines. While it presented many original science fiction elements, it still retained the elements of a typical story of the era.
The story's cliff-hanger also presented fans with a preview of the Daleks' third appearance. Their return was awaited impatiently, a fact that was baited by the appearance of a Dalek shell in part one. This shell was the final appearance of the original Dalek design until The Magician's Apprentice in 2015. The Daleks at the end of "The Final Phase" do not have the metal band of their predecessors.
The TARDIS jumps a time track and the travellers arrive on the planet Xeros. There they discover their own future selves displayed as exhibits in a museum established as a monument to the galactic conquests of the warlike Morok invaders who now rule the planet. When time shifts back to normal, they realise that they must do everything they can to avert this potential future.
Vicki helps the native Xerons obtain arms and revolt against the Moroks. The revolution succeeds and the travellers go on their way, confident that the future has been changed.
The Space Museum (1)
The TARDIS materialises on a planet replete with many different specimens of space technology. The Doctor says they landed far quicker than he ever has before. Ian and Barbara find they have switched clothes since just before they landed. They had been in their 12th century Crusade clothes.
The Doctor explains this away as being merely "time and relativity". Their old clothes will be hanging in the wardrobe. Vicki confirms this. Following the Doctor's orders she also fetches a glass of water from the food machine. She is startled by something that makes her drop the drink. As the glass smashes on the floor, it immediately reforms itself and leaps back into her hand. She reports this to the Doctor, who says all should be explained when they explore the planet. He postulates it is a museum because the spacecraft are lined up in chronological order.
Once they leave the TARDIS, they find the planet has nothing living on it. Ian notices their footprints make no tracks in the dust. They head towards a large building in the middle of the spacecraft.
Once there they find the doors shut, but they soon open to reveal two men. The travellers hide from them, but as they pass Vicki sneezes loudly. To the travellers' surprise the two men do not seem to hear her. The Doctor says this is unexplainable and begins to explore the building. As they walk through the many corridors, they are startled by a Dalek, which they realise is only a museum piece. As they discuss Daleks, about which Vicki has only read, they see two more men coming. They hide but are surprised to see that, although the men seem to be speaking to each other, they are inaudible to the travellers. Ian wonders if they speak at another frequency than humans. The Doctor doubts it but has no other explanations.
As they continue to explore the museum, Vicki discovers that they cannot touch any of the pieces on display. Their hands simply pass through them. The Doctor suggests they are not actually where they think they are. Yet again, they encounter three men who go about their business, unaware of the travellers. This supports the Doctor's theory.
Further in the museum, they find the Doctor's TARDIS on display. Barbara, Ian, and Vicki, although confused as to how the ship came to be here, say they think they should leave the planet. The Doctor soon proves this to be impossible. The TARDIS also cannot be touched. The Doctor points out a display case containing the bodies of the four travellers. He says the TARDIS must have jumped a time track when they materialised. Thus they temporarily occupy a fourth dimension. This lets them be simultaneously in the cases in one reality and standing, looking at themselves in the fourth dimension.
The Doctor suggests that the only course of events is to wait at the museum until they return to the real reality. He suggests that what they are seeing in front of them is merely a possibility of the future and it can be changed. He notes that the versions of them in the display cases are wearing the same clothes as they are wearing now, so it is only a matter of time before the two realities merge again. No sooner does he say this than Barbara has a strange feeling. Time seems to rewind and two men discover the TARDIS. At the same time, the display cases disappear. The Doctor announces, "We have arrived."
The Dimensions of Time (2)
The museum's curator, Lobos, receives news of the alien ship that has landed on his planet. Although concerned, he is also pleased to have his day's monotony broken by an intruder. He orders his men to find the visitors before the rebels find them. However, he is too late — three rebels have already heard about the travellers and intend to intercept them before Lobos' men. They will befriend them and overthrow the oppressive rule that Lobos, a representative of the Moroks, holds over them.
Meanwhile, in the museum the travellers have taken a gun from the exhibition to bluff their way out of the museum. The four friends discuss how best to avoid the future that they saw in the fourth dimension. It is suggested that they do the opposite of what they would normally do, but they decide to try to escape. If they escape, then they will never be captured in the first place.
They begin to navigate the labyrinthine corridors, searching for escape. As they make their way through the corridors, they are pursued by the rebels, who decide that, to avoid startling the travellers, they will capture one of them and explain their situation. It is not long before the opportunity shows itself. As the travellers walk through the corridors, the Doctor is distracted by an exhibit and falls behind his friends. The rebels grab him and carry him away through a door without the others seeing. He plays dead and the rebels decide to split up. One of the rebels, Darko, elects to stay and watch the Doctor while the others go to track the other travellers.
The remaining travellers, now aware of the Doctor's disappearance, argue how best to find him and save themselves from their possible future. They decide it is best to push on for the exit.
The two rebels return to discover that Darko has been tied up and gagged. They question him about what happened, but he has no memory after being knocked unconscious. They go to seek the Doctor, who they assume escaped back into the museum. However, he is hiding in the hollowed out Dalek shell. When he escapes, he is accosted yet again, but this time by the Moroks.
Barbara, Ian, and Vicki, now tired and cranky, decide to use yarn to ensure that they are not repeating their paths. They unravel Barbara's cardigan to do this. The rebels find the yarn and decide to follow it. Eventually they find the exit. As they pull back the doors they see that the TARDIS has been captured.
The Doctor finds himself in a room with only a chair. As he sits on it, bars lock him in place. A wall slides up to reveal Lobos. He explains that the museum is an homage to the great history of the Moroks and it is silent because the Moroks are now peace-loving creatures. Lobos asks the Doctor with whom he came here. The Doctor refuses to say, but Lobos somehow knows anyway. He explains that the Doctor's chair allows his thoughts to be shown on a video screen on his desk. When Lobos continues to question the Doctor on how he came here and where he is from, the Doctor uses the strength of his brain to confuse and misdirect Lobos. Lobos tires of this and summons his guards to take the Doctor to the preparation room. He will become an exhibit, causing an image of the Doctor on display to appear.
The Search (3)
Barbara, Ian and Vicki look on as the Moroks decide to try to force their way into the TARDIS. One of the Morok soldiers is sent to fetch cutting equipment. As the humans discuss what they should do, a Morok finds them and holds them at gunpoint.
Ian decides that if they are to be put in the exhibition cases in the future, the Morok soldiers must have been told not to kill them. The gun must be a deterrent, not a threat. Ian calls the soldier's bluff and overpowers him. The other Moroks overhear the scuffle and rush to try to catch the travellers, but in the panic the humans flee in different directions. Barbara hides behind a stack of boxes. The Moroks leave without seeing her, but she finds they have locked the door, trapping her.
Vicki escapes from the Moroks another way and gets captured — not by the Moroks but by the rebel faction. At first she is terrified of her captors, especially when she hears that they captured the Doctor, but the rebels insist they wish her no harm. This is proved when they send one of their number, Dako, to find Barbara.
Ian elects to hide behind the TARDIS. He overhears a conversation between a Morok guard and Lobos over instructions to guard the TARDIS while the rest of the army track down the "aliens". Using a stone to distract the guard, Ian overpowers him and holds him at gunpoint. He orders the guard to take him to where the Doctor is being held. The guard informs him that it will be too late for the Doctor, but Ian insists.
Lobos is tired of the aggravation from high command, what with the aliens running loose on his planet and the ever-growing number of Xeron rebels on his base. He elects to flood his museum with Zaphra gas. This paralyses anyone who inhales it, making all the Moroks' enemies easy pickings.
Dako finds the room in which Barbara is hiding but is almost knocked unconscious by a terrified Barbara. He says her name; this calms her. Dako says his race is called the Xerons. They are the original occupants of this planet, but the war-loving Moroks took over their planet to establish their museum. The Moroks swept away the Xeron civilisation and killed all the Xeron people except the children, whom they enslaved. These are the Xerons that now live underground in the museum. The conversation is interrupted by the Zaphra gas that floods into the room. Barbara and Dako try to escape before falling under the gas' paralytic effects.
Vicki is also being given a lesson on Xeron history. The Xerons admit that whilst they are more numerous, they do not have the artillery to overpower the Moroks. Vicki asks if there is an armoury that they can raid. The Xerons say that there is, but it is protected by a lock with a lie detector. Unless you answer a series of questions truthfully, you cannot enter. Vicki asks to be taken to this machine, and the Xerons willingly oblige, happy to have an addition to their revolutionary force.
Meanwhile, Ian and the Morok guard have arrived at the Preparation Room where the Doctor is being held. The guard suggests waiting until it isn't as busy to enter. Ian agrees. They are soon interrupted by Lobos. Ian hides while the Moroks talk. Ian learns that his friends have not been captured but gas will be used on them. They hide until the Preparation Room may be more accessible.
Sita, Tor and Vicki arrive at the armoury. Vicki listens to the questions that the complex telekinetic lock asks. As soon as she has heard the full cycle, she takes off the front of the machine and tinkers with its workings. She gets the machine to ask her the questions again. When asked what her name is, she responds with "Vicki", and when asked what the guns are to be used for, she responds "revolution." To the surprise of the Xerons the doors open. While the Xerons begin arming themselves Vicki explains that she wired the machine to accept any truthful answer, not just the ones that the Moroks were looking for.
Lobos is interrupted by Ian, who has gained access to the Preparation Room. Ian holds Lobos at gunpoint and demands to see the Doctor. Lobos obliges, saying there is no point. Ian stops in his tracks, shocked at the state the Doctor is in.
The Final Phase (4)
- You may be looking for the audio story.
Ian finds the Doctor attached to a device, unconscious. He demands that Lobos reverse whatever it is that the machine has done to the Doctor. Lobos says the Doctor is as good as dead and it would be impossible to revive him. It has never been done before. Ian forces Lobos at gunpoint to do so.
Meanwhile, Tor marshals the Xeron revolution. He orders his newly armed platoon to attack the barracks. As they do, Vicki says she wants to help find her friends. After arguing briefly, Tor agrees but sends Sita to protect her.
Back in the preparation room, Lobos has defied the odds and resurrected the Doctor. The only side effect the Doctor displays is a bit of rheumatism from the extreme cold to which he was subjected. As the Doctor and Ian discuss their next move, a group of Moroks silently ambush them, knocking Ian unconscious. Once Lobos has imprisoned the two men, he tries to call the barracks to muster more men to find the rest of the aliens. There is no answer.
Outside where a Morok soldier guards the TARDIS, the doors to the museum spring open to reveal Barbara and Dako. Barbara has carried Dako to safety after he collapsed from the Zaphra gas. The guard pulls his gun on them when a shot rings out and he falls. Barbara and Dako turn to see Vicki and Sita, who is holding a gun. Sita tells Dako about the revolution. Barbara and Vicki decide to join them, hoping they will find the Doctor and Ian on the way. Whilst they talk, another Morok soldier appears. He shoots Dako and Sita and takes Barbara and Vicki prisoner. The soldier returns Dako and Sita's guns to Lobos. Lobos says it is from the armoury and worries he cannot contact his soldiers there either.
The four travellers are reunited, locked in the Preparation Room. In a futile effort to render their possible future redundant, Ian destroys the machine that turns them into exhibits. However, the Doctor speculates that there are many more on the planet. Ian and Barbara seem resigned that there is no escaping the future they saw, but Vicki and the Doctor say that ever since they touched down on Xeron they have been altering and affecting the course of events — although they can't alter their own chain of events while imprisoned, they may have made an impression on others, who will do it for them.
Outside, the Xerons overpower the Moroks in the battle for Xeron. The Xeron rebels include Sita and Dako, who were only paralysed by the blast from the Morok soldier. Tor finds them and demands to know what happened to Vicki. Sita says that they were taken to the Preparation Room. Tor and his men go after her.
Outside the Preparation Room, Lobos receives news that defeat is inevitable. He decides to flee the planet and orders the killing of his prisoners. Just as the travellers are about to be killed, Tor and the rebels burst through the door and kill Lobos, freeing the Doctor and his companions.
Later, reunited with his TARDIS, the Doctor explains to Ian and Barbara the problem he had with his TARDIS was all down to a small part that hadn't quite clicked into place — this meant that they had been wandering around Xeron for a while before it clicked back into place and re-landed again, resetting time.
Ian asks what the Doctor has brought with him. The Doctor says it is a Time-Space Visualiser the Xerons gave him as a souvenir before they dismantled the museum. He will be able to get it working again, but leaves its actual use a mystery. Vicki bids goodbye to Tor and enters the TARDIS, which dematerialises.
On a distant planet, a Dalek enters a control room in response to an alarm call. It informs another Dalek via a communications panel that their "greatest enemies" have left Xeros. The response from the Dalek at the other end is that the Daleks' own time machine will soon be in pursuit and their enemies will soon be exterminated...
- Dr. Who - William Hartnell
- Ian Chesterton - William Russell
- Barbara Wright - Jacqueline Hill
- Vicki - Maureen O'Brien
- Sita - Peter Sanders
- Dako - Peter Craze
- Third Xeron - Bill Starkey
- Lobos - Richard Shaw
- Tor - Jeremy Bulloch
- Morok Messenger - Salvin Stewart
- Morok Technician - Peter Diamond
- Morok Guard - Lawrence Dean
- Morok Guard - Peter Diamond
- Morok Guard - Ken Norris
- Morok Guard - Salvin Stewart
- Morok Commander - Ivor Salter
- Xeron - Michael Gordon
- Xeron - Edward Granville
- Xeron - Bill Starkey
- Xeron - David Wolliscroft
- Morok Guard - Billy Cornelius
- Dalek Voice - Peter Hawkins
- Dalek Machine operated by - Murphy Grumbar
- Double for Dr Who - Brian Proudfoot (DWM 316)
- Armoury Computer voice / Relief Guard voice / B Division Commander voice / K Division Commander voice - Salvin Stewart (DWM 316)
- Writer - Glyn Jones
- Director - Mervyn Pinfield
- Producer - Verity Lambert
- Script Editor - Dennis Spooner
- Designer - Spencer Chapman
- Assistant Floor Manager - Caroline Walmsley
- Assistant Floor Manager - John Tait
- Costumes - Daphne Dare
- Costumes - Tony Pearce
- Fight Arranger - Peter Diamond
- Make-Up - Sonia Markham
- Production Assistant - Snowy White
- Special Sound - Brian Hodgson
- Studio Lighting - Howard King
- Studio Sound - George Prince
- Studio Sound - Ray Angel
- Theme Arrangement - Delia Derbyshire
- Title Music - Ron Grainer
- The Doctor claims he was with James Watt when he discovered steam power.
- The Moroks used a paralytic called Zaphra gas during the creation of their empire.
- The museum has a Dalek in it. The sign claims it comes from Skaro.
- "Time, like space, although a dimension in itself, also has dimensions of its own," says Vicki.
- The Doctor calls up an image of a penny-farthing and an African buffalo.
- All episodes exist as 16mm telerecordings.
- The third episode, "The Search", was held in the BBC Film and Videotape Library when it was audited in 1978.
- Negative film prints of all four episodes have been found.
- A better quality print of the first episode, "The Space Museum", was returned to the BBC in 1981.
- The working titles of the first episode, "The Space Museum", and "The Final Phase" were "The Four Dimensions of Time" and "Zone Seven" respectively.
- William Hartnell does not appear in "The Search" except in the reprise from the previous episode, "The Dimensions of Time", as he was on holiday during the week it was recorded.
- Of all the William Hartnell stories with individual episode titles, this is the only one for which only one overall story title has ever been used. See also Disputed story titles.
- It was during production of this story that Jacqueline Hill decided that she was leaving the series.
- Glyn Jones was later dismayed by Dennis Spooner's editing of his scripts, which excised much of the humorous content. Spooner felt that such material was inappropriate in what he envisioned as a high-concept science-fiction story.
- The first episode, "The Space Museum", begins with a brief reprise of The Crusade: The Warlords, which is currently the only surviving 16mm black & white film footage from that episode.
- Richard Shaw, who spoke with a Cockney accent, was cast as Governor Lobos, but was asked to deliver his lines in BBC English. His accent slips only once, when he bellows at an underling to use "maximum securi'ee!"
- The incidental music was all from stock recordings rather than being specially composed for the story.
- In a nice piece of internal continuity, William Russell starts gently banging his fists together as he leaves the TARDIS interior set and carries this through to the next scene, following a recording break, as he emerges from the police box onto the Xeros surface set; this gives the effect of a continuous piece of action and helps maintain the illusion that the TARDIS interior really is inside the police box shell.
- Salvin Stewart (Morok Messenger/Morok Guard) also provided the voice of the computer guarding the armoury in "The Final Phase", but was uncredited on-screen.
- This was one of the stories selected to be shown as part of BSB's Doctor Who Weekend in September 1990.
- The first episode, "The Space Museum", features a rare use (for the 1960s) of a filmed insert of an interior location, specifically a room in the TARDIS, due to the need to show a special effect (Vicki dropping a glass and the glass repairing itself) that at the time could not be rendered on videotape. The switch from video to film was rendered unnoticeable in the filmed recordings of the serial that were circulated after its UK broadcast and when the story was recovered in the 1980s, but is once again quite noticeable following the serial's vidFIRE remastering for DVD release in 2010.
- The four episodes were produced at the same time that the feature film Dr. Who and the Daleks was in production.
- "The Space Museum" - 10.5 million viewers
- "The Dimensions of Time" - 9.2 million viewers
- "The Search" - 8.5 million viewers
- "The Final Phase" - 8.5 million viewers
- This was a low budget story due to the high cost of some of the other stories this season. (The story had a similar budget and cost about the same to make as the other 4 part stories at the time.)
- When they exit the TARDIS, the main characters cast shadows across the mountains in the distance.
- After establishing that they can't touch any of the exhibits, the actors hide behind a statue and bump into it, causing it to wobble.
- The Doctor fixes the Time-Space Visualiser (TV: The Chase) and uses it again. (AUDIO: The One Doctor)
- The Faction Paradox use a similar device to show Fitz his future. (PROSE: The Ancestor Cell)
- The TARDIS jumps its own time track again (PROSE: Festival of Death, Prisoner of the Daleks) and the Doctor thinks at first that this may have occurred in TV: Amy's Choice.
- In PROSE: No Future it is revealed that the Monk was once an adviser to the Moroks.
- The Doctor would later visit other "space museums". (TV: The Seeds of Death, Dalek, The Time of Angels)
Home video and audio releases
- This story was first released on DVD in the UK on 1 March 2010 as part of a boxset with The Chase. The one disc set includes a restored version of the story, as well as the following special features:
- Commentary by William Russell (Ian), Maureen O'Brien (Vicki), Glyn Jones (Writer) and Peter Purves (Moderator).
- Defending the Museum - Documentary looking at The Space Museum, with Robert Shearman explaining how he thought this story was overlooked unfairly.
- My Grandfather, the Doctor - Documentary that saw Jessica Carney interviewed about the career of her grandfather, William Hartnell.
- A Holiday For The Doctor
- Coming Soon Trailer
- Radio Times Billings
- Production Subtitles
- Photo Gallery
- Editing for the DVD release was completed by the Doctor Who Restoration Team.
This story is available:
The Space Museum was released on VHS together with the surviving episodes of The Crusade.
- The Space Museum at the BBC's official site (with video clips)
- The Space Museum at BroaDWcast
- The Space Museum at Shannon Sullivan's A Brief History of Time (Travel)
- The Space Museum entry in Encyclopedia of Fantastic Film and Television